CPLP Knowledge Exam

Follow these study tips to prepare for the exam.

Step 1: Assess

As you begin your preparation, the best starting point is to determine what topic areas to focus on as you study. By assessing your current knowledge of the Areas of Expertise (AOEs) you can determine your areas of strength as well as areas where you need to further build your knowledge. Then you can weave this information into a study plan that is specifically tailored to YOU.

What Is My Knowledge Level?
Take the Practice CPLP Exam: What better way to assess how you would do on the CPLP exam than by taking a practice exam? The CPLP practice exam* contains 50 questions that mirror those on the actual CPLP exam. Take the practice test so you can evaluate your strengths and weaknesses within each AOE.

*When you click on the link above, you will be taken to the SkillTracker assessment tool. Please select ATD Practice Tests on the top menu and then choose Practice Test for CPLP from the test menu.

Tip: Consider studying the areas you know best first as a refresher and work on the areas you know less well closer to your exam date.

Step 2: Plan

How Should I Determine The Best Study Plan?
Let’s focus on the knowledge exam. Successful CPLP candidates create personalized study plans in order to pass the CPLP exam. Before putting your study plan together, take some time for the following:

  • Study the CPLP Learning System. This resource covers each Area of Expertise (AOE) plus Global Mindset in a Chapter format. Each Chapter includes several Knowledge Areas. Each Knowledge Area is a critical competency for CPLPs and is based on the ATD Competency Model.
  • Explore the different Preparing for the CPLP programs that serve as an extension of your individual preparation. Especially if there are some content areas with which you are not as familiar/comfortable, consider supplementing your study approach with these preparatory programs.
  • Think about how you typically tackle something new that you need to learn. Do you like to focus just on the areas you know the least about? Do you prefer working in groups? Do you dive into information in a deep, thorough way? Determine your learning preferences and what study options are right for you.

Use this study plan template to create your personalized study plan.

Tip: Now that you have your Study Plan drafted, are you ready to register? If so, review the CPLP Test Schedule, have your exam window in mind, and then follow the Instructions on How to Apply for your CPLP exam.

Step 3: Prepare

What Should I Consider As I Prepare For The Exam?

  • Plan on 80+ hours of study time for the Knowledge Exam
  • Plan on six-nine months for the whole process including studying, taking the knowledge and SAE exams.

What Resources Should I Review?
If you haven’t already done so, this is a great time to review the Practice CPLP Exam. And you don’t need to shoulder all the preparation by yourself! Consider any or all of the following resources as your “partners” in preparation:

  • The CPLP Learning System includes both questions that help you assess your knowledge and apply the concepts to situations and case studies. The Learning System also allows you to bookmark particular content, or write notes as you go.
  • The Preparing for the CPLP programs are designed to support your individual study plan. Choose the preparation program that works for YOU – a two-day instructor-led workshop, a synchronous online opportunity at your desk, or a self-paced course. When you register for a program, you'll get access to a private Online CPLP Community.
  • If you want to really dive into a particular AOE, consider enrolling in one of several Certificate Programs.
  • Join our CPLP Prep LinkedIn group and share resources and ideas with your peers.
  • After you complete the Study Prep program of your choice, extend your individual studying by joining a Study Group. These Study Groups are peer-facilitated and can be virtual or in-person. Many ATD Chapters offer Study Groups. Look here for a list of local chapters.
  • ATD members may also use the ATD Skill Tracker to determine what resources are available to build skills and knowledge in specific areas.

Tip: As you prepare, don’t limit your review to only your areas of weakness you need to sharpen all of your skills.

Step 4: Test

How Do I Schedule The Date For My Exam?
First, review your Study Plan so that you can plan correctly for your exam. Review your CPLP Certification Handbook for more information about the knowledge exam and skills application exam. A few key details include:

  • Determine your goal date to earn your credential.
  • When you register for the CPLP process, you choose an exam window for the knowledge exam. Once you register, you will receive an email with exam scheduling details. Keep that email.
  • The registration for a specific exam appointment opens seven weeks before your chosen exam window and you will receive an email at that time.
  • You must schedule your appointment at least 30 days in advance of the first day of the testing window to guarantee a testing seat.
  • Make sure you bring two forms of ID to the center.
  • Remember to bring your appointment confirmation email with you to the test center. Without the confirmation code in that email, you will not be able to take your exam.
  • Since the exam is electronic, you will get your scores immediately upon completion!

Where Do I Take The Exam?
ATD’s testing partner has locations across the U.S. and Canada, and in several countries internationally. See this page for a list of testing centers.

What Happens If I Fail The Exam?
Individuals who fail the exam are invited and encouraged to retake the exam during the next available testing window (a retest fee will apply).

Tip: Once you have completed your course of study and have sufficiently prepared for the exam, sit back and relax. Avoid the temptation to conduct a late-night cram session the night before the exam.